New Naratif
Sun Mar 31 05:48:41 +0000 2019

1/ Hello Sunday! Chief editor @kixes here. It's been awhile since I've done a thread to give people a look behind the scenes! Today, let's look at something very fundamental to what you see on our site—our publishing schedule and how we work with contributors.

2/ New Naratif generally publishes two new features in English a week (with non-English versions following the next day, if available). It's the schedule we've calculated we can manage based on our manpower and budget. (Really mostly the budget, this stuff takes $$$.)

3/ Our new features are usually published on Wednesdays and Fridays—the rest of the week is taken up by non-English content, our email newsletters, our podcasts, or #AkanDatang curated by deputy editor @BRITgrlINDOfood, summing up the news to watch in the region for the week.

4/ Behind the scenes, what we have is a mountain of stories in the works, at various stages from pitches to drafts to edits and translations. We have far more balls in the air than what the average person might expect looking at our output on the website alone.

5/ Why are things so hectic? We have no full-time staff; everyone at New Naratif has other work and commitments on the side. #FreelancerLyfe

6/ We're also very spread out: about 13+ people in about 10 cities, and many haven't met in person. Everything has to be done remotely: emails, WhatsApp, Basecamp. Sometimes people travel, sometimes they're busy, sometimes things fall through the cracks. It's constant effort.

7/ We work in multiple languages: we accept pitches and stories filed in English, Malay and Indonesian. This means there's not just editing happening in the background, but plenty of translation (pitches, drafts, comments) as well. Read more:

8/ And when I say translation, I don't just mean language. Writing styles and practices also need to be ironed out. If For example, I've learnt that the Indonesian style of feature-writing is *very* different from what we're familiar with in English.

9/ We work with first-time/inexperienced writers, too. This means we often hand-hold more than others; advising on angles, nudging people to do more interviews, sending pieces back again and again for revisions.

10/ It can be weeks/months, from pitch to publication. I agonise over the schedule, shifting articles around depending on how timely they are, or how long a writer has been waiting to see their story released into the wild. (I know we all live for getting that byline out there.)

11/ As freelancers ourselves, we are also very conscious that a lot of freelancers live from invoice to invoice. That's why we pay once the edits are done, regardless of whether a piece has been published yet.

12/ Still, we do feel bad when we keep some writers waiting because it takes us awhile to edit—but we're going as fast as we can!

13/ Hopefully this helps everyone understand how we work a little better: we want to be open and transparent about our process. On top of accountability, we want to demystify practices (obvious to those of us already in the industry, but not necessarily to others).

14/ We hope this encourages people who have interesting stories or perspectives to share them—we can't pick up every pitch, but we try our best to be approachable and accessible. We can't always give feedback on *every* pitch (see tweet #5), but will try to respond if asked.

15/ If you would like to pitch us, this pitch form is the easiest way to go about it: (One of the many, many things on our to-do list is to have this form translated into Malay and Indonesian!)

16/ If you don't have a pitch but want a convenient way to keep up with our stories, we have Telegram channels! English: Malay: Indonesian:

17/ And, as always, if you haven't yet, please join New Naratif as a member! Our members are a crucial part of our community—apart from funding our work, members also help inform our choices and direction, attend events and open meetings, etc.